The Ballons des Vosges Regional Natural Park covers a vast territory of more than 2,900 km2. It consists of a mosaic of natural environments that are home to a wide variety of fauna and flora. Out of the most remarkable natural areas are the Vosges forest, which covers 55% of the Park’s surface, the high stubble fields at altitudes of 1,000 m and above, the peat bogs and high-altitude lakes, and the dry limestone grasslands on the Alsatian foothills.
A recent inventory report of the Park’s biodiversity shows 1,379 species of flora. Some of the most emblematic species are: mountain Arnica, Vosges Pansy and Austrian Anemone on the high stubble fields, Aster amelle and Common Pulsatilla on the dry limestone grasslands, Round-leaved Sundew and Cranberry on the peat bogs, Pectinated Fir and Blueberry in the Vosges forests.
The 610 wildlife species identified include:
- 264 birds: Skylark, Crossbill, Spotted Nutcracker, Dipper, Peregrine falcon, Meadow pipit, Black woodpecker, Whinchat, etc.
- 125 butterflies: Gaze, Small silver-necked, Niobe fritillary, White-fasciated moth, Sylvander, etc.
- 70 mammals: Chamois, Forest Cat, Eurasian Beaver, Great Murin, etc.
- 61 dragonflies: Common hawker, Emerald damselfly, Black Darter, etc.
- 63 orthopterans: Alpine Miramella, Verrucivore Dectica, Vine Ephippigere, Cymbalid Grasshopper, etc.
- 15 amphibians: Alpine triton, spotted salamander, yellow belly bell, etc.
- 12 reptiles: Viviparous Lizard, Western Green Lizard, etc. One of the main responsibilities of the Regional Natural Park is to preserve the natural areas of its territory as well as the wild species that live there, some of which are particularly fragile.
Some of the above species, particularly the flora, are relatively easy to observe provided they are sought out in favourable environments during their flowering period. In contrast, where the fauna are concerned, observation is more difficult as these are wild species and, by definition, often discreet and unpredictable. Patience, binoculars and an identification manual will be needed if you want to catch sight of them.
We advise you to ask a mountain guide, who is qualified to accompany you in your experience of the Park’s natural environment, abiding by good conduct rules. Click HERE to see the list of mountain guides with the “Regional Natural Park Values” label.
If you prefer to experience the outdoors on your own, we invite you to view the map of quiet zones for wildlife as well as the good practices and regulations connected with these zones at the Quietude attitude website.